Case Study

How overcoming a cyber-attack led to a sound — but simple — network upgrade

A St. Louis-based provider of large-scale construction services to businesses throughout the United States built its company by prioritizing client needs and delivering exceedingly high-quality work through its team of honest, loyal employees.

Because the precision-centric services they offer require constant communication around changes to schedules and calculations, technology and data access are critical to its success.

The challenge: A malicious ransomware attack

No company can foresee a cyber-attack — or be fully prepared to manage its damaging effects — so when all of their critical data suddenly became encrypted and inaccessible to its employees, they immediately contacted UNCOMN (formerly Aegis Strategies). Knowing UNCOMN shares similar values around people, integrity, and performance, this company knew we would do whatever it took to help.

Through ingenuity and hard work, UNCOMN’s Cyber Solutions team was able to recover their data unharmed and get the company back to business. Having learned from this painful experience, this new client then challenged UNCOMN to not only identify the perpetrator but to design a solution to prevent future attacks.

For this next requested phase, UNCOMN designed a communications infrastructure and implemented both internal network defense and cyber risk assessment/management to devise a system that would fully protect the company’s data, while enhancing its communication capabilities.

Our approach: An integrated technology and cultural solution

On the day UNCOMN helped this company recover its data, we were able to identify the user who had opened an email and inadvertently clicked on a malicious link which allowed criminals the access they needed to encrypt the company’s data. Because a security breach such as this can happen to any employee at any time, UNCOMN expediently conducted a seminar to educate all employees about what had happened and how to avoid cyber attacks in the future.

With the crisis effectively managed, our client then asked UNCOMN to determine how it could upgrade their patch-worked network and storage solutions system to be more secure and efficient. Catering to this enterprise’s unique needs, we crafted a lightweight solution suitable for their modest data needs.

Our solution was simple and affordable, yet effective. We installed a new laptop, Wi-Fi router and hardware including a backup server; and trained them to perform regular, automated checks. We helped select the appropriate scanner and configured it to email mobile-friendly PDFs directly to recipients. We also securely migrated all data to Microsoft Office 365 while connecting them to cloud technology via Dropbox. In addition to training them to implement their new technology system, we educated employees on email alias usage, secure file-sharing and online conferencing, empowering them to be confidently self-sufficient.

The results: Tighter security and greater peace-of-mind

Since overcoming this challenge, our client successfully avoided other cyber attacks and the company’s management team is now equipped to train new employees in cyber attack prevention. With their upgraded system, employees can more efficiently exchange information typically done “in the office” while delivering first-class construction services on their clients’ job sites.

“The comprehensive solution UNCOMN created provided us with high-level security along with streamlined and seamless communication on- and off-site. It’s allowed us to deliver our client needs even more efficiently by providing secure, reliable data available not only in the office, but by our mobile devices in the field,” explains the company President.

By applying our holistic, people-focused approach and an observant eye, UNCOMN suggested reallocating some of the technical tasks from the management team to another ambitious employee, which has proven to be an improvement in the workflow as well as morale.

Our client’s modernized and fully integrated technology and storage systems are proving beneficial both to company operations and for employees. Using the new hardware and aliases gives their team another layer of protection and confidence. The training UNCOMN provided helped the company reduce delays, allowing quicker production time and improving customer service — all aligned with company goals of putting client needs and uncompromised quality of work first.

The UNCOMN team truly enjoyed crafting simple technology and effective cyber solutions for this reputable construction services provider. We appreciate our partnership and will continue to be there for the company, if and when help is needed again.